by Sam Acosta
The third chapter of Disney’s new Marvel series nudges us closer to the dark reality hiding just underneath the show’s surface, making it my favorite episode so far. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and when it ended, I was disappointed that it wasn’t longer.
While the previous two episodes hinted at a “Twilight Zone”-esque story, this episode leans heavily into that style of storytelling. This episode also includes one of my favorite uses of editing that I have ever seen in any film or television show.
Wanda and Vision are discussing their new life as a couple, and Vision comments about how strange everything seems. “I think something is wrong here Wanda,” he says somberly as he sits down next to her. Almost instantly, the screen glitches, and Vision is standing back up, having the same conversation as before. This time, however, he talks about how excited he is for their future as a family.
This edit is absolutely brilliant. When I watched it for the first time with friends, we all thought that there had been some sort of glitch in the stream. It wasn’t until we noticed the differences in the dialogue that we began to grasp what had happened. Reality had been altered once again. It was mind-blowing how sudden and smooth this edit was.
That was only the first of many breaks in reality. Wanda’s neighbor, Geraldine (Teyonah Parris), is the victim of another break, this time blatantly caused by Wanda herself. Yet, there is a more emotional layer this time around. After Wanda goes through a full pregnancy and gives birth to twins–all in a matter of ten minutes or so–she begins reminiscing about her twin brother, Pietro. Geraldine asks if it was Ultron who killed Pietro.
A chilling uneasiness fills the room, and the two characters stare at each other in silence as the reality of forgotten tragedy sinks in. This reminder of past events in the MCU felt so jarring; up to this point, we had heard practically nothing about Pietro since his shocking death in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” I was on edge for this entire scene, and I had no idea what to expect.
The episode ends with Geraldine being thrown out of Wanda’s reality and into the real world. Armed guards, seemingly military, surround her as the camera pans to reveal what seems to be a large force field. This reveal begs the question: is this field keeping people out of Wanda’s world or is it keeping her in? Yet again, we are left with very few answers and many more questions.
This episode gave me a dramatically different feeling than any other Marvel property ever has. With each phase of the MCU, we have witnessed some pretty definitive changes in tone. While the movies have become more serious as time has gone on (it’s unlikely that things could ever get any more dire than they did in “Endgame”), some of the movies have experimented with different tones in ways that end up affecting future movies.
For example, while comedy was always a part of Marvel films, it became much more prominent after the massive success of “Thor: Ragnarok” showed producers that more humor was received well by the fanbase. I’m anticipating that we are going to see a similar situation in Phase 4 of the MCU.
In this case, the last two “Avengers” movies told stories with some rather grim elements. The deaths of major characters gripped audiences around the world in a way that they won’t soon forget. I believe that the executives at Disney are convinced that, at this point, the majority of the Marvel fanbase can handle darker elements in their superhero stories. Enter “WandaVision.”
I predict we are going to see much more darkness come out of this show. I can’t make any specific predictions yet (though trust me, those are coming), but it’s quite clear there is an ever-present evil lurking just underneath this show’s sitcom sheen. For now, the true nature of that evil remains unclear, but it is almost guaranteed that the time for answers is coming soon, and I, for one, can’t wait.
Episode three of “WandaVision” is now available to stream on Disney+.
Sam Acosta is a sophomore Theatre Comprehensive Major and an A&E writer for Cedars. He likes spending his time watching movies, drinking Dr. Pepper, and writing plays.